The number of jobs cut in the first six months of this year total 258,932, according to the latest report from outplacement firm Challenger Gray & Christmas. The total is 8.5% lower than the total for the first half of 2012 and is the second lowest six-month total since 2000.
In the month of June, employers announced job cuts totaling 39,372, up 8.2% from the 36,398 announced cuts in May. The computer and education industries were the hardest hit by cuts. The computer industry lost more than 10,000 jobs in June and a total of nearly 20,000 in the first six months of 2013. The education sector lost 5,629 jobs in June.
So far this year, the financial sector leads in job cuts, with cuts up 82% when compared with the first six months of 2012. The retail sector is second, with cuts up 39% year-over-year.
John Challenger, the firm’s CEO, said:
So far, most of the job cuts related to health care reform have come from health care providers adjusting to lower Medicare reimbursements and state Medicaid cutbacks. … Larger companies may cut workers to offset the higher costs associated with providing affordable and adequate health care to all employees or paying $2,000 per worker for not providing coverage. As for sequestration cuts, we are already seeing layoffs stemming from the mandated cuts in federal spending. These cuts could go on well in to 2014, as private-sector firms with government contracts start to feel the impact as current contracts expire.
Year to date, the firm has attributed more than 10,000 job losses to the effects of sequestration, mostly in the aerospace and defense sector.
Job losses in 2013 are on track to be the lowest since 2000, and Challenger anticipates layoffs to decline toward levels last seen in the 1990s.